US northeast to get 3 Bcf/d gas takeaway boost
Houston, 11 January (Argus) — The US northeast should realize an increase of more than 3 Bcf/d (85mn m³/d) of natural gas pipeline capacity by the end of this quarter, compared with an increase of 2.3 Bcf/d in volumes in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Columbia Gas Transmission's 1.5 Bcf/d Leach XPress pipeline project began flows last week, shuttling gas from West Virginia and Pennsylvania into Ohio and to an interconnection with Columbia Gulf pipeline near Leach, Kentucky.
Energy Transfer Partners has been bringing its 3.25 Bcf/d Rover pipeline project on line in phases, with the final tranche of 1.55 Bcf/d expected to begin flowing by the end of March. The 713-mile (1,147km) pipeline will transport Appalachian shale gas to pipeline interconnects in West Virginia, markets in Ohio and Michigan, and to the Dawn storage hub in Ontario, Canada.
Finally, Spectra's 128mn cf/d Atlantic Bridge project began partial flows of 40mn cf/d in November, with the rest of that line expected to start up soon. But that project is not expected to have as significant an impact on prices or production levels as Leach XPress and Rover, analyst Jake Fells of BTU Analytics said.
The projects this quarter should provide more takeaway capacity than what six smaller projects brought to the region in the fourth quarter of 2017. The largest of these include Columbia Gulf Transmission's 1 Bcf/d Rayne XPress line, which added two compressor stations to boost capacity on Columbia Gulf, and Tennessee Gas Pipeline's (TGP) 900mn cf/d Southwest Louisiana project. Although work for the latter project was located entirely in Louisiana, the expansion allowed for more gas to be delivered south on TGP, freeing up room for more Appalachian shale supplies on the line.
The new pipeline capacity ushered in record production for Appalachia, with levels topping 26 Bcf/d in the final days of November, according to BTU Analytics.
The Appalachian shale region produced 25.6 Bcf/d in November, up by 14pc on the year, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The agency estimates that output there is will rise to as high as 26.4 Bcf/d this month.